"gradually I've come to realise that my house is haunted by the ghost of a dead astronaut"

Thursday, 31 December 2009

26. A Dream of Meaningful Noise


"Dead astronauts drop out of the sky as the air is sucked out of this planet, and every value is levelled and falls to the ground at the same speed. Love and horror. Value and vacuum. All the same"
Quiet. So much quiet now in Mordan House.

There are sounds in this house, but all seem so subtle, and even the ones that resonate have something impersonal and introspective about them, as if they have nothing to do with me, as if they shun me, stating only that I should not listen or think anything of them. And so I don’t. They are all a part of quiet. That world, and not the world of sound. And that's strange to think, especially on Hogmanay, when the world will be filled with so much noise tonight. But here I am, still snowed in within this haunted old house that surround this haunted life that contains this haunted imagination.

Nothing at all has occurred in this house since the strange apparition, or dream, that took place with the Imaginary Lizzie at my side.

Look at that! I even give Imaginary a capital letter, as if it’s real in some way, even though I know it’s not real at all! Just look at how fanciful my thoughts have become. Just look at how much I’m in trouble inside.

Corridors in this house just look like connecting flat surfaces that slide away meaninglessly. Chairs don’t even appear functional, they are just there, all joined-up but all unrelated and unpurposeful. I could have written ‘purposeless’, but I prefer ‘unpurposeful’ – the sound of it appropriately hurts just that little bit more. The gravel outside my window slips into grass where the driveway ends, and the grass merges into the shape of trees, and through the branches I see the lacklustre wash of the sky blending into empty formations of deadpan cloud. None of it speaks, none of it breathes – all is without point or significance.

And every sound from any of it is always ironic, not hinting at an inner reality. Instead, sounding its empty thereness. There, and nothing more. Things creak and groan, and it tells me what I already know: emptiness hurts. “What did you say to me, Object? Oh, you were just emphasising your thereness! Oh, I see.” And it groans. And so too do I. The world, and all the bits of stuff that comprise it, resound like a barrel, its contents long quenched – only the dead reverberation to be heard now. Hurt’s a feeling though, and that’s something, but really just another ironic reaction to emptiness. Some kind of trailing vapour.

"Corridors in this house just look like connecting flat surfaces that slide away meaninglessly. Chairs don’t even appear functional, they are just there, all joined-up but all unrelated and unpurposeful. I could have written ‘purposeless’, but I prefer ‘unpurposeful’ – the sound of it appropriately hurts just that little bit more. The gravel outside my window slips into grass where the driveway ends, and the grass merges into the shape of trees, and through the branches I see the lacklustre wash of the sky blending into empty formations of deadpan cloud"

There are not even any magnanimous symbols of emptiness in my world now. No symbol hanging white in the air above the treeline or suspended in a corridor or hammering against my window. Emptiness has slipped back, it has lost its ability to pronounce itself, and now it rests quietly dead in every artefact I see. Everything has flattened into one plain, one dimension, one wall or partition with the muteness of iron. All it exudes is “No”. All any of the things in this world transmit to me right now is “No”. And ever so quietly and impersonally too. As if just to each other, leaving me out of the loop.

I long for a meaningful noise, but I’m not sure what that would be. What would mean something to me? Perhaps something that would touch me? Something that would speak directly to me? The dead spaceman did that.

Huh! What did the world have to say to me that was meaningful? “You are empty and so too am I. Look at your emptiness.”

Yes, dead astronaut, you were right: it is my turn now.



An astronaut on the moon dropped a feather and a hammer to demonstrate Galileo’s claim that all objects fall at the same speed when there’s no air. The same is true down here now. Dead astronauts drop out of the sky as the air is sucked out of this planet, and every value is levelled and falls to the ground at the same speed. Love and horror. Value and vacuum. All the same.

I stand outside of Mordan House, my feet crunched down into the snow, and I think the word “No”. Nothing responds to my comment; after all, I’m not saying anything that the world doesn’t already know. So, privately, I dream of meaningful noise, and I wonder what that might actually be.

James was supposed to change things, of course. James. The guy from the neighbouring town. Yep, the one that knits.

I was scheduled to meet him yesterday. Let me tell you what happened.

2 comments:

Liz said...

Just wanted to let you know I love the story so far, and can't wait for the next installment.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

I don't know if my joyful noise at seeing you at the arrival gate at Pearson airport counts as meaningful but there would also be flowers.
Do come for a holiday and leave that mad house.